Which GPU for the Retina iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Crunch, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. Crunch, Oct 21, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    Crunch macrumors 6502a

    Crunch

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    #1
    Hey all, so I'm going to get the new iMac with Retina display and I wanted to know what your thoughts are regarding the two available GPUs:

    The AMD R9 M290X w/ 2GB GDDR5, or, for $250 more, the R9 M295X w/ 4GB GDDR5.

    Isn't the GPU taxed a lot with having to drive all those beautiful (and now invisible) pixels? I don't use Adobe or edit video at all and I'm not much of a gamer either.

    Will the M295X makes everything "smoother", if you will. Your thoughts?
     
  2. NJRonbo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #2
    I need this question answered as well.

    I have maxed out my 5k iMac spec wise.

    The only thing I am hesitant in upgrading is the graphics card.

    I am not a gamer. I only do minimal Photoshop work.

    Is there a reason to upgrade to the 4GB graphics card?
     
  3. leenak macrumors 68020

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    Mar 10, 2011
    #3
    Generally, a GPU is one thing that can age a system (along with the CPU), if you aren't doing heavy graphical work or gaming, the 290x should do fine. One thing is that it is somewhat of a bargain, as the 295x costs about $1000 and the 290x is around $250-$300. So Apple is taking a 'loss' on the cost of the card by only charging $250 for it.

    And if you are maxing out your config, 32gb of RAM isn't really worth it, the average user will also not use more than 8gb but if you want, you can upgrade that later anyway. And as for a 1tb ssd, that is a hefty price, again, most people do fine with 256gb, many will do great with 512gb and there is a small subset I think that would need more than that.
     
  4. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #4
    Considering the total cost of your purchase, I would always upgrade the GPU for the couple of hundred $s extra.
     
  5. apfelmann macrumors 6502

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    #5
    really? 295x is 1000$?
     
  6. leenak macrumors 68020

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    #6
    It initially sold for $1500 but I read the price dropped to $1000 and searching for prices, that is about what it is
     
  7. steve23094 macrumors 68020

    steve23094

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    #7
    Are you thinking of the R9 295X2? This is a desktop dual GPU card on Hawaii architecture. Different from the R9 M295X which is a mobile chip on Tonga, so you're not comparing like with like.
     
  8. leenak macrumors 68020

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    #8
    Oh maybe you are right. I can't even find a price on the m295x.
     
  9. hyune83 macrumors member

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  10. Orr macrumors 6502

    Orr

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    #10
    I can gurantee you Leenak that Apple is most definitely not taking a loss on the GPU upgrade (or any other options they offer across all product lines). That's not how they run their business. Their buying power renders retail pricing for individual components irrelevant.
     
  11. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Crunch

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    #11
    It's not the R9 295x, it's the M295x. A notebook-class GPU. And I'm sure Apple would put out a GPU that didn't give the user a great experience. I'm thinking of going with the M290x.
     
  12. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #12
    Like I said, I would go the M295X upgrade.
     
  13. fathergll macrumors 65816

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #13
    After seeing the M290x at my Apple store I would go with the M295X easily. I'd probably also opt for an all SSD solution and skip the Fusion. If that means you need to save a couple months of money I would say do it.
     
  14. 5iMacs macrumors regular

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    Oct 25, 2014
    #14
    Just some thoughts...

    I have been using my 5k iMac (base except for SSD) for a day and except for going in and out of Mission control with many full-screen windows I have not seen anything seem to struggle with graphics. However, I get that on the rMBP with discrete graphics too, so I just think that operation is really heavy.

    Plenty of other devices for gaming in the house, so there I have no idea, but it makes sense that if you are going to game at all you want the GPU upgrade.

    Outside of gaming and video effects work, it's hard to know what to test. I get fast loading and glass-smooth scrolling of a web page with 5 embedded Youtube videos all playing. When I run Maps in 3D at full-screen (very fun BTW) I can "inertial spin" the map and it looks to be about 20fps. Plenty smooth for me. Scrubbing high-res footage in iMovie was satisfying too.
     
  15. 5iMacs macrumors regular

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    #15
  16. macmee Suspended

    macmee

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    #16
  17. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #17
    One consideration is external monitors. More VRAM can help with driving the extra pixels.
     
  18. hyune83 macrumors member

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  19. leenak macrumors 68020

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    #19
    So how do you measure FPS here? I went to that page, at 300k cubes, there is a slight stutter with zooming out, but at 600k cubes, the slight stutter is the same. So I notice no difference between 300k cubes and 600k cubes.
     
  20. 5iMacs macrumors regular

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    #20
    It's printed in the very upper left hand corner.
     
  21. 5iMacs macrumors regular

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    Oct 25, 2014
    #21
    I ran it again and tried to see that stutter, but it eluded me. Could you describe it? Were you running a lot of other Safari windows at the same time? I had about a dozen up, with some youtube videos (not running, but they are heavy) because that's typical for me.

    If it is there it's pretty slight and probably less objectionable that the 32 fps for people who care about that kind of thing, in my opinion.
     
  22. leenak macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Oh I have tons of crap running. It was just a slight pause... barely noticeable.
     
  23. Charlemagne macrumors newbie

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #23
    Is this really a good benchmark? I could do 32 fps with a GeForce GT 120 in my 2009 Mac Pro at 300k cubes. I could do 30 fps at 600k cubes. I would hope the new iMacs are way better.
     
  24. 5iMacs macrumors regular

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    #24
    The resolution of your display factors into it, were you running with a 4k screen or something close to that?
     
  25. DerekS macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2007
    #25
    Answer: the 295x.

    There is no reason to squabble over a few hundred bucks. You don't want to buy the thing and regret not upgrading later.
     

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